I can still remember the first time I looked at a .htaccess file.
It was a late night... and I was in over my head. I blinked and continued staring at my computer screen.
On the screen was a .htaccess file that came with the Joomla CMS I was using. I did not understand anything I was looking at. All I knew was something, somehow, somewhere was broken.
At this time, I knew so little HTML and CSS, I had a half-dozen browser tabs open to w3schools.com. I did not know PHP, RegEx (regular expressions), or the Apache web server even existed. It is amazing how much you can do without knowing anything.
But there I was staring at that .htaccess file determined to figure it out.
The .htaccess file was an enigma.
Yes, I recognized words like "redirect" and "rewrite". If you asked me what they did I could guess but that was all.
Because of my ignorance, I searched for information online. I found lots of information and code snippets. Stack Overflow became one of my best friends that night. However, I did not find many resources that break things down simply (to my level).
Years have passed. I have learned more than I ever thought there was to learn.
I feel the time has come to give back to the community I learned so much from. Yet, I want to provide information in an easy to understand and accessible way.
My goal is to provide a guide that will help you understand how you can use the .htaccess file to impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
I hope you find this information helpful. It would not be possible if it were not for the developers and SEOs who freely shared their insights and knowledge with me.